Chisholm MN Broadband Efforts – wifi on buses, in parks, to check out and an upcoming coworking space

This month I am traveling with the Blandin crew to visit various Iron Range Broadband Communities – communities that have been making a concerted effort to improve broadband access in their area. We started in Chisholm.

Here’s the presentation:

Notes on  their projects:

Chisholm/Balkan Broadband Projects:

Wi-fi on Busses:

Organization:  Chisholm Public Schools ISD #695

Coordinator:  Joe Phillips, Chisholm Public Schools IT Director

Wi-fi to be installed on two school busses owned by the district.  Allowing for students taking longer bus trips to have access to the internet.  Busses may be used for community events such as the Chisholm All Class Reunion or Doc “Moonlight” Graham Days.


Community Website/Portal:

Organization:  City of Chisholm/Chisholm Area Chamber of Commerce/ISD #695

Coordinator:  Amy Rice, Chisholm Development & Economic Director

Developing a Community Portal and Calendar to provide a “go to” website for all community activities.  The portal will be used to market for economic development, tourism, growing population, the school district, city and chamber.  The three main entities involved will also develop websites that will interact with the portal.  Uploading calendar events and keeping information current.


Community Hot Spots:

Organization:  Chisholm EDA

Coordinator:  Amy Rice, Chisholm Development & Economic Director

Installing community hot spots in three locations, Chisholm Public Library, the Lake Street Pocket Park and the Balkan Community Center.  Each organization will be responsible for the ongoing maintenance and costs associated with the hot spots.


Ipad/Portable Hot Spot Check-out @ Chisholm Public Library:

Organization:  Chisholm Public Library

Coordinator:  Katie Christensen, CPL Director

Purchased ten portable hot spots as well as web access for each device.  The devices will be checked out of the library.  Security features and insurance will be provided on devices.   The Library will be responsible for continuing costs associated with the project.


Chisholm/Balkan Broadband Projects:

Community Training Project:

Organization:  Chisholm Community Education

Coordinator:  Dr. Janey Blanchard, Chisholm Community Education Director/Superintendent ISD #695

Monthly community training on all things broadband.  A monthly presenter will train on a specific topic relating to broadband, internet, social media, security and many more.  Student aides (CHS Seniors) will be trained by a mentor in order to provide help to attendees.  Monthly meetings for the first 12 months are planned, additional topics will be added depending on community input.  Our Community Portal will be showcased as well as the Hot Spot Checkout System at Chisholm Public Library.  Other partners will include the Chisholm Area Chamber of Commerce, ISD #695, Chisholm Public Library and area banks and medical facilities.


MDC Broadband Access:

Organization:  Minnesota Discovery Center

Coordinator: Ethan Bexell, MDC

The Goal is to provide broadband access at the Minnesota Discovery Center that is reliable, affordable and provides speeds adequate for a museum, educational facility, premier meeting facility and area attraction.


“Business Perks” Building:

Organization:  Chisholm EDA

Coordinator:  Amy Rice, Chisholm Development & Economic Director

We plan to create rental space for part-time/temporary/startup businesses with access to technology.  For example high speed internet service, webinar access, skype, google hangout and other options.  Staffed by an intern from our local community college, in addition to an intern opportunity with UMD-CED we plan to have that person also provide social media marketing and e-commerce training to our downtown businesses free of charge for the first year of operation.  We are looking at a building that is adjacent to our new downtown Pocket Park, with the recently installed Hot Spot equipment in the park we plan to expand that to cover the building. Plans call for a coffee hub in the front of the building that will have a side door opening to the Pocket Park.  The coffee shop will be open for the facility renters and eventually we hope to have it run as a viable business.  The space will be an incubator/business development tool, training center and brain hub for the community.  In-Kind partners will provide art work/decoration for the property.  Partners will include the IRRRB, AEOA Business Energy Retrofit Program, the Chisholm Community Foundation, Chisholm EDA, Chisholm Downtown Revitalization Committee, UMD-CED, Hibbing Community College and the Chisholm Area Chamber of Commerce.


And video of the meeting:


This entry was posted in economic development, education, IRBC, MN by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s